The act of swallowing involves several different nerves and muscles, creating a complex process.
is a condition that affects your throat and esophagus, making swallowing difficult. While this condition is typically more common in infants and older adults, it can happen to anyone. There are wide range of signs, symptoms, and causes. If these problems swallowing are seldom or few and far between, it’s likely not serious. However, if they persist frequently, you should see a doctor to determine the cause and appropriate course of treatment.
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Symptoms of Dysphagia
There are a variety of symptoms that can point toward dysphagia, including:
Pain with swallowing
Acid reflux or heartburn
Choking or gagging when drinking or eating
A feeling that food is stuck in your throat
Hoarseness when speaking
Types of Dysphagia
Generally, there are three types of dysphagia. They are categorized by where the challenges occur in the swallowing process.
– Oral, or high dysphagia, stems from the mouth. It can be caused be a weakness in the tongue, making it difficult to chew and transition food from the mouth.
– Occurring in the throat, this type is typically caused by a neurological issue that affects the nerves.
– Low dysphagia signals that there is a problem in the esophagus. It is typically caused by an irritation or blockage.
Causes of Dysphagia
Dysphagia can also be a symptom of other conditions that affect the nerves and muscles in the throat and esophagus. Some common causes of dysphagia include:
Treatment of Dysphagia
Determining what is causing your swallowing difficulties will directly influence your treatment plan. Many common treatment options include:
to remove any blockages
Changing eating habits
Medication for GERD,
, or heartburn
Exercises to strengthen the esophagus and throat
If you’ve been experiencing difficulty swallowing you should see your
as soon as possible to determine the cause and course of treatment. The
expert staff at Digestive Diseases Center in Panama City, Florida
is here to help with any of your digestive health needs.